sex is off limits

Why Is the Subject of Sex Always Ignored on Most Publishing Blogs?

I’m not talking about the kind of sex in the books I write. Although I purposely keep this blog G-rated, I write erotic romances that would never cross into the mainstream. And, I make no apologies to anyone for what I write. Frankly, I think people like reading about sex in novels, and as long as it’s done with discretion (and sometimes a sense of humor)there’s nothing wrong with adults who read sexy novels.

Sex is part of life. A huge part of life. It’s how we all got here and it’s something most of us think about a lot during the course of a day. As a matter of fact I once read that the two things people lie about the most are sex and money.

And yet in all the years I’ve been reading publishing blogs I’ve rarely ever seen sex mentioned in blog posts that are written by literary agents and editors. And when it is mentioned it is either laughed at, with that snide funny-ha-ha nervous school girl laugh, or it’s dismissed as insignificant. Hell, I posted the other day about a book reviewer who sneered and actually crossed her legs reading one sex scene…a sex scene that’s in a bestselling romance book out right now.

I’ve seen literary agents post about queries and the query system with the kind of passion most normal people in the world save for sex. I’ve seen publishing blog posts where sexy book covers are trashed, on purpose, as if there’s something wrong with good looking people showing off their bodies. I even read a blog post once where the blogger, a literary agent who reps authors without impressive sales rankings, not only made a point of saying he wasn’t interested in erotic novels but that he despised them.

You have wonder about this thought process in a general sense. Millions of good, wonderful people out there are buying and reading erotic romances and novels across the board and yet you’ll only see a rare few in the mainstream, gatekeeping sector of publishing industry discussing it openly. And when they do, many times they are laughing at it. It reminds me of the politicians we read about who are condeming sex all the time and then we find them sneaking around in public bathrooms or hiring hookers. These publishing bloggers, literary agents included, have to be getting it somewhere…at least I would hope they are.

There are plenty of blog posts written about YA novels, MG novels, and children’s books. So many I could gag sometimes. I see them all the time, and frankly they put me to sleep. I think they put most people to sleep, but no one ever comes right out and says this openly.

I’ve read sexy scenes written in mainstream literary novels. Jonathan Franzen wrote quite a few in his latest book, and so did John Irving. They both did it well and their books sold well. And yet I’ll go to an agent or editor web site or blog and I’ll see the same old cheesy blogs posts being recycled about those hideous query letters and how important it is to spell the agent’s name right.

Personally, I think if these bloggers in publishing concentrated on human sexuality with regard to fiction a little more, in a tasteful, discreet way (at the very least,) we’d all be a lot better off for it. And I think the bloggers would, too. You’d see a lot less complaints about query letters and a lot more blog posts about how much fun life can be sometimes. You’d also see a lot less cheese being handed out to people interested in getting valid information about the publishing industry. There’s a reason why Jackie Collins sold millions of books and Betty Jean Primrose of the ACME Literary Agency only sold a couple of hundred.

And although I often think there are some in the publishing world who would like to see sex completely disappear from the universe, I doubt this is going to happen any time soon.